Nigerians from all walks of life led by President Muhammadu Buhari are pouring tributes on Alhaji Ahmed Joda, a very distinguished Nigeria who died on Friday at the age of 91.
Joda, one of the so-called ‘super permanent secretaries’ under the regime of military head of state, General Yakubu Gowon. He, alongside his colleagues have been credited with frustrating plans to divide the country during the civil war.
Joda was the head of Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential transition committee in 2015.
Joda was the last surviving member of Governor Hassan Usman’s Northern Nigeria cabinet.
He was at different times, chairman and board member of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Nigerian Communications Commission, Pastoral Resolve, SCOA, Nigeria, Chagoury Group, Flour Mills of Nigeria, and the Nigerian LNG.
His Personal Secretary, Alhaji Mohammed Baba, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Yola that Joda died after a brief illness at the Federal Medical Centre, Yola, on Friday.
Baba said the deceased was born in Yola in 1930, attended Yola Elementary School and Yola Middle School before proceeding to Barewa College from 1945 to 1948.
In the 1950s, he attended Pitman College, London, and gained practical experience in journalism while staying in Britain.
After completing his secondary education in 1948, Joda was admitted to Moor Plantation, Ibadan.
He worked briefly at an agricultural centre in Yola before entering the field of journalism at Gaskiya Corporation, Zaria.
He later worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission serving as the editor of NBC Kaduna, then joined the Northern Nigeria civil service as Chief Information Officer and later permanent secretary in the regional Ministry of Information.
In 1967, he became a federal permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information and subsequently moved to Lagos.
“It is worthy to note that he was the chairman of the 18-member transition committee, nominated by General Muhammadu Buhari to receive the hand over notes from the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration in 2015.
“Ahmed Joda is an administrator, journalist and politician. Also worthy of note is the fact that he was the chairman of the transition committee in 1979 when General Obasanjo handed over to President Shagari,” he said.
Joda had been buried in Yola according to the Islamic rites. Sheikh Tijjani Tahir, the Deputy Chief Imam of Yola town Central Mosque, led the funeral prayers.
The burial was attended by top Adamawa Government officials led by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Bashir Ahmed, representatives of Adamawa Emirate Council and politicians, among others.
Joda is survived by four children, comprising two males and two females, including Hajiya Asmau Joda, a female activist.
In his tribute, President Muhammadu Buhari, described Joda as a great statesman and patriot, in a condolence message released by his Spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja.
Buhari, highlighted Joda’s “monumental contributions to Nigeria’s unity and progress,” from birth of the nation until his death.
According to the president, Joda’s lofty ideals will continue to motivate millions across the nation.
“We will not forget his sacrifices,” he added.
He also noted that the late “Super Permanent Secretary” as Joda and some of his colleagues were referred to in the 70s, “distinguished himself as a remarkable scholar, journalist, intellectual, public servant and farmer.’’
President Buhari called Joda “a hero for all Nigerians” who, even in death, “will continue to inspire every generation to move forward with love, brotherhood and harmony.”
He prayed to Allah to accept his good deeds and grant fortitude to those he left behind in his family, Adamawa Emirate Council and entire people of the state, to bear the loss.
Also, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar described the death of Joda as “fall of an iroko”.
Abubakar in a statement personally signed by himself in Abuja on Friday described Joda as great Nigerian and first generation of Adamawa indigenes who made immense contribution to growth of the state and the country.
“Today, our beautiful Adamawa State has lost a colossus. Indeed, an iroko tree has fallen in Nigeria, particularly Northern Nigeria.
“The news of the death of Joda comes with some kind of a jolt even though he lived to a prime old age.
“He belonged to the first generation of Adamawa indigenes who put our state and the North in the map of modern Nigeria.
“His stature as an accomplished administrator was towering and colourful.
“He was a shining star in the galaxy of Nigeria’s public servants.
“Joda, with a few of his peers, wrote the rule book of Nigeria’s civil service and his footprints will remain indelible.
Abubakar prayed that the Almighty Allah accepts his soul and provides his family with fortitude to bear the loss of a forthright and iconic patriarch.
Also, Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara, has described the death of Joda as the “end of a great era”.
AbdulRazaq, in a statement in Ilorin on Friday, described Joda as a patriot with sterling records of integrity and service to the nation.
The governor said the deceased was one of the best public administrators in post-independent Nigeria.
“He belonged to the generation of Nigerians, who gave their all to birth a greater country,” he said..
The governor said the deceased steered the telecommunications’ revolution in Nigeria as the NCC Chairman, adding that Joda would be celebrated as a great administrator, a disciplinarian and a patriot.
“I received the news of the death of Alhaji Ahmed Joda with equanimity. He lived a fulfilled life that was marked by excellent service to the fatherland.
“His death, though inevitable for mortals, came at a time our country would appreciate more of his wise counsel in welding a united country that works for all.
“His death is painful and a personal loss to me as one of his ‘adopted sons’ and protégé.
“I commiserate with President Muhammadu Buhari, the people and government of Adamawa and his immediate family.
“I pray Allah, exalted is He, to admit him to Al-jannah Firdaus and give the family the fortitude to bear this huge loss,” he said.
Also, Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa described the passage of Joda, as a great shock and loss.
The governor prayed for the repose of the soul of the deceased and for Almighty Allah to grant the family, friends and associates the fortitude to bear the loss.
“Joda was a father and statesman, who displayed genuine love to all and sundry,” Fintiri said.
Similarly, Mr Simon Yakubu, the District Head of Dugwaba in Hong Local Government Area, described Joda as a nationalist, who sacrificed his life for the unity of Nigeria.
“Nigeria has lost a great hero and a nationalist, who sacrificed all his life for the unity of the nation,” Yakubu said.
He prayed for the Almighty Allah to grant him Jannatul Firdaus